McConnell: We will vote to confirm Justice Kennedy’s successor this fall

Posted on: June 27th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — On the heels of Justice Anthony Kennedy’s stunning retirement announcement, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the Senate will vote on his replacement this fall.

“The Senate stands ready to fulfill its Constitutional role by offering advice and consent on President Trump’s nominee to fill this vacancy,” McConnell said.

“It’s imperative that the president’s nominee be considered fairly and not subjected to personal attacks,” McConnell went on.

“Thus far, President Trump’s judicial nominations have reflected a keen understanding of the vital role the judges play in our Constitutional order. Judges must interpret the law fairly and apply it even-evenhandedly. Judicial decisions must now flow from judges’ personal philosophies or preferences but from an honest assessment of the words and actual meaning of the law,” McConnell added.

In a statement, Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley says he “looks forward to having the nominee before us in the Senate Judiciary Committee for his or her hearing in the weeks ahead.”

The Senate Judiciary Committee conducts confirmation hearings for nominees to the Supreme Court.

Republicans were quick to heap praise on the retiring Supreme Court Justice.

“I deeply appreciate Justice Kennedy’s long service to our nation as a member of the Supreme Court and the federal judiciary,” Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said in a statement. “He is one of the most impactful Justices in modern Supreme Court history.”

The outgoing senator from Utah, Republican Orrin Hatch, who is retiring this year, commended Kennedy for his stalwart defense of the First Amendment.

“I congratulate Justice Kennedy on his service to our country. He has been a stalwart defender of the First Amendment, federalism, and other important rights. I look forward to working with the administration over the coming weeks to guide his successor through the confirmation process. I wish Justice Kennedy and his family the very best,” Hatch said in a statement.

But Democrats are now increasingly concerned about the fate of the Supreme Court. When President Trump nominated Neil Gorsuch last year, he tipped the balance in favor of conservatives.

Another conservative pick by the president is sure to be a blow to Democrats.

“This is a disaster for everyone who believes in the “We the People” vision of the Constitution,” tweeted Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Oregon.

“I’m worried about Roe v. Wade,” Merkley said in another tweet about the landmark decision in 1973 that recognized a woman’s constitutional right to an abortion.

Sen. Richard Blumnethal, D-Conn.,on Twitter seemed to sum up those broader concerns.

Other Democrats are urging McConnell to wait until after the midterm elections this fall.

“Senator McConnell set the new standard by giving the American people their say in the upcoming election before Court vacancies are filled. With so much at stake for the people of our country, the U.S. Senate must be consistent and consider the President’s nominee once the new Congress is seated in January,” Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, said in a statement.

When asked if he thinks its fair to bring up a Supreme Court nominee during an election year, after blocking President Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland in 2016, McConnell told reporters: “There’s no presidential election this year.”

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